Mania Grade: C
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: D
- Packaging Rating: N/A
- Menus Rating: N/A
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 12 & Up
- Region: All Region DVD
- Released By: ADV Films
- MSRP: 29.99
- Running time: 120
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Sakura Wars / Sakura Taisen
By Julian Tacher
February 18, 2002
Release Date: October 26, 1999
Yes folks, just as my opinion of Tenchi Forever wasn't very high, this review runs kind of along the same lines. First, I was not familiar with the game this is based on, so I went in with a fresh and uncommitted viewpoint. The disk itself contains 4 episodes, each one running in the 25 minute or so range. First the technical aspects of the disk:
The disk is in the usual packaging, so there's nothing to talk about there. When I first got it I popped it into my DVD-ROM on the computer as is the norm for me to see if any PC specials had been included. All on it was a link to the ADV web page. Nothing major, just a nice touch. I then started playing the disc on the computer. Now, I got a pretty decent setup. My GFX card is a Matrox G400, AND I have a QI Cinemaster Decoder board, so I can do both soft and hard decoding. First I started playing in the software decoder that in my experience looks much nicer, and was astounded at the terrible image quality. SO I loaded up the hardware player and same visuals. Thinking that while playing with Region Selector I screwed something up, I then went to my Pioneer 606D (reviewed elsewhere on this site) and hit play. Sadly, it wasn't the computer. The video quality on this disc is horrid. During the intro animation there is a terrible amount of compression artifacts. And during the movie, the edge shimmering is amazingly bad. And it's present during most of the disc, not even giving a rest during sequences with muted colors. Just a very poorly compressed disc.
Audio on the disk sounds pretty good all around. I listened to both the dub and the sub and they both sounded pretty good to me, although there is absolutely no point running through the 5.1 speaker setup. It's almost as if the disc says NO to any more than 2 speakers.
Titles are the usual yellow/black that are very easy to read, so no problem. The disc also includes previews of several other ADV titles (including a preview of Sakura Wars, ironic isn't it?) and that's about it. Not too much, not too little. I also didn't experience the problem where the language and title settings reset at the end of each episode, that another reviewer mentions.
Now, about the content itself. Like I said, I started watching this with no previous knowledge of the series/games/whatever. The first episode actually does work out pretty good, as it introduces the characters pretty good, and the story line in general gets pretty well defined. There's some stuff you just have to shake your head about, like why 3 psychic warriors are doing fairly dance shows, but we'll attribute that to the usual Japanese sense of weird. We get to see the characters, who they are and what they know. So far so good. Pity that it's the only episode worth seeing. This makes the agony that are the last 3 episodes all the worse. The next 3 episodes have mostly inane chatter and nothing else going on. There's on small battle sequence that is so-so, but nothing out of this world. We get a little bit more character development, but not much. like one of the characters for some reason runs off to avenge her father. Why? What happened? When did it happen? Hell, we don't even know when she gets back! just all of the sudden there she is!. And all along this time, we get treated to some very dramatic (NOT) sequences where the girls get casted for Romeo And Juliet, and the rich spoiled girl doesn't want the amateur to be a part of it. All the character personalities are just way overblown to the point of cliché's, and it just isn't funny, nor entertaining.
Sadly, this disc just didn't do it for me. The video is poor quality, the story is pretty boring. I was at least hoping for a few battles, but 2 in 4 episodes isn't exactly quality battle's to me, and besides which the Spirit Armour looks terrible. Why do the heroes have these huge bulky Armour sets when the bad guys have nice and sleek ones? also, as a little side gripe, the bad guys make 2 showings that we just don't know why or who or anything. Just suddenly we get a view of a warehouse full of robots and then a scene where they are invoking some demon. Who is he? why is he? what does he do? why does he matter?
SO anyway, if your a bigass fan of the game, maybe this will do it for you. Otherwise, avoid it. Entirely forgettable